GNOME OS 40 without GNOME Boxes

The GNOME team have announced GNOME 40. Along with this there’s a GNOME OS image to play with. You can grab that from here with the release notes.

The release announcement firmly (in bold) suggests “Do not use any other version including the distro version. Only GNOME Boxes 3.38.0 from flathub is known to work.”.

Personally I’ve never managed to have much success with GNOME Boxes, so I thought I’d test using something I already have installed, QEMU! I have used QEMU for many years.

Here’s a screenshot of me running Windows XP, Windows 2000, NT Server, NT Workstation, Windows 98 and Windows 95, for lulz. This was all running on a Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 back in 2005 (15 years ago!). All under qemu on Ubuntu. How time flies.


More recently I’ve been using qemu-virgil to run virtual machines of all kinds. On top of that Martin Wimpress made a neat wrapper around qemu-virgil called quickemu.

Here’s what I did to run the new GNOME 40 on QEMU on my Ubuntu system.

Get qemu-virgil

snap install qemu-virgil --edge
sudo snap connect qemu-virgil:kvm

Get quickemu

git clone


cd quickemu

Configure quickemu

Create a gnome40.conf file containing this.


Launch quickemu

./quickemu --vm gnome40.conf

Something like this will appear in the terminal.

alan@robot:~/quickemu$ ./quickemu --vm gnome40.conf
Starting gnome40.conf
 - QEMU:     /snap/bin/qemu-virgil v4.2.0
 - BOOT:     EFI
 - Guest:    Linux optimised
 - Disk:     ./gnome-40.qcow2 (64G)
             Just created, booting from ./gnome_os_installer_40.0.iso
 - Boot:     ./gnome_os_installer_40.0.iso
 - CPU:      4 Core(s)
 - RAM:      3G
 - Screen:   1664x936
 - Video:    virtio-vga
 - GL:       ON
 - Virgil3D: ON
 - Display:  SDL
 - smbd:     /home/alan will be exported to the guest via smb://
 - ssh:      22227/tcp is connected. Login via 'ssh user@localhost -p 22227'

Then a qemu window pops up and GNOME boots.


Install GNOME 40

Wait a few seconds and…

GNOME installer

Choose the disk to install onto…

Choose disk

Time passes…


Great success…


Try out GNOME 40

Restart the VM

alan@robot:~/quickemu$ ./quickemu --vm gnome40.conf

Run through the initial setup wizard.

Firstrun 1

Firstrun 2

Firstrun 3

Firstrun 4

Firstrun 5

Firstrun 6

Firstrun 7

Firstrun 8


Time to play



You don’t necessarily need GNOME Boxes from Flathub to try out GNOME 40. Any decent VM system which supports EFI should work fine.